Cisco, in partnership with Google is set to roll out free high-speed Wi-Fi across India, with Bengaluru being the pilot zone. Cisco will work with Google’s gStation platform to provide communities around the country access the facility.
“Cisco is geared up with its robust network and Google with the its immense content. This also represents a significant growth opportunity, as the demand for public Wi-Fi hotspots is expected to go up by 100x over the next three years, creating new markets for Cisco and our partners,” says Sameer Garde, President, Cisco India & SAARC.
Sajith Sivanandan, Managing Director and Business Head, Google Pay and Next Billion User Initiatives, India, says, “The results from gStation’s railway station rollout have been hugely encouraging, and we’re delighted to join hands with Cisco to broaden gStation’s coverage in Bengaluru. The proliferation of public Wi-Fi in India can provide a significant boost to the government’s digital ambitions of ubiquitous connectivity and digital inclusion and serve as a complementary network for telcos and offer users full high fidelity experience across India.”
The service is already enabled in 25 locations in the pilot phase. By September 2019, 200 locations in Bengaluru will be Wi-Fi enabled, followed by another 300 in the second phase. The locations include public spaces like bus stops, hospitals, government offices, etc.
According to a TRAI report, globally there is one Wi-Fi hotspot for every 150 people, and in India, eight million additional hotspots must be installed to achieve the same ratio, creating new market opportunities for infrastructure providers and internet service providers. India has only 52,000 Wi-Fi hotspots today, necessitating a proactive strategy to make high-speed Wi-Fi hotspots ubiquitous across the country.
Public Wi-Fi also provides an opportunity to develop a broader connectivity ecosystem, which can not only benefit users and wireless ISPs, but also telecom service providers, handset manufacturers, and venue owners.
It is already seeing widespread acceptance by service providers globally and has evolved as a complementary network for traffic offload purposes — offloading from congested cellular networks on to lower-cost-per-bit Wi-Fi networks extending the coverage of mobile networks within buildings and other public spots like cafés and restaurants, retail chains, hotels, airports, planes and trains for customers and guests.
According to the Cisco VNI report, nearly 59 per cent of Internet traffic will be offloaded from cellular networks to Wi-Fi by 2022, wherein lies the tremendous opportunity for ubiquitous dispersion of Wi-Fi.